Leading Institution:
California State University, San Bernardino

The Workforce Experience Before the Workforce

The NICE Challenge Project develops real-world cybersecurity challenges within virtualized business environments that bring students the workforce experience before the workforce. Our goal is to provide the most realistic experiences to students, at-scale year-round, while also generating useful assessment data about their knowledge, skills, and abilities for educators.

What is a NICE Challenge?

Each NICE Challenge has the following core elements: a narrative-driven scenario, a business environment (workspace), and a set of technical objectives and/or a written deliverable. Each of these elements is developed to immerse the player (student) in a real-world experience and create a valuable set of data allowing their curator (educator) to judge their readiness for the workforce.

How are the NICE Challenges Used?

The NICE Challenges are primarily designed for use as culminating experiences and assessments. However, they are not limited to this purpose. They are heavily used in a wide variety of use cases.

  • Capstone Experiences - Work role based experiences for students approaching graduation to determine if they are ready for the workforce
  • Challenge Labs - Next-level labs for upper-division course work, extra credit, and all-star students
  • Competition Preparation - Exercises for teams and individuals preparing for cybersecurity competitions
  • Free Play - A wide selection of work role based experiences for students to try out and see what suits them
  • Instructional Aid - A visual and functional aid in class for showing students real-world issues and how to handle them

NICE Challenges Map to Critical EDU Cybersecurity Standards

The NICE Challenges are mapped against two major EDU cybersecurity standards, the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (also known as NIST SP 800-181 and the NICE Framework) and the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Knowledge Units (also known as NCAE-C KUs).

Dr. Vincent Nestler
Principal Investigator
Email: vnestler@csusb.edu
Dr. Tony Coulson
Co-Principal Investigator
Email: tcoulson@csusb.edu
James Ashley
Project Manager & Lead Engineer
Email: jashley@nice-challenge.com